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FLEAS IN GENERAL

These insects:
  • Are small
  • Wingless
  • Body is compresses laterally
    (thin from side to side)
  • Adults have piercing mouthparts
  • Have Complete Metamorphosis
There are a number of fleas that can be found infesting structures, including the following:

  • Cat flea - The most commonly encountered flea inside structures.
  • Dog Flea - The second most commonly encountered flea inside structures but prefer wild animal hosts, rather than domestic pets.
  • Human Flea - Found throughout the United States and is not uncommon in homes on the Pacific coast. It can survive on human hosts, but can be found on pigs and dogs.
  • Oriental Rat Flea - This flea is most commonly found in seaport towns where it infests roof and Norway rat species, but can also be found across the southern United States and in southern California. This is the flea associated with the transmission of bubonic plague and murine typhus.
  • Northern Rat Flea - This infests rats and mice throughout the United States and is the most common rat flea in the northern United States.
  • Sticktight Flea - This is a prominent pest in the southern and southwestern United States and it primarily infests poultry.
  • European Mouse Flea - This flea is common in the Gulf coast states and in California. They become a problem inside structures when there is a heavy mice or rat infestation.

HEALTH CONSEQUENCES OF FLEA INFESTATION

The health consequences of flea infestation on humans, and their pets, should not be taken lightly. The following are related to fleas:
WELTS - Fleas can leave bumps from their bites, which will itch and can develop into welts. These welts, if continuously scratched, can turn into open wounds, leading to possible infections. These welt, although usually no more than uncomfortable, can pose a problem with young children and older adults.
PLAGUE AND TYPHUS - Not all fleas are known to carry these terrible diseases, but some can and these health risks should not be overlooked.
DOG TAPEWORM - These are common in both cats and dogs. However, when children play near infested pets, they too can become infected with this disease.
Although fleas do not normally cause disease in humans, the chances of this happening should not be overlooked.

HABITS

The adult flea will usually lay their eggs on the host animal and it will subsequently fall onto the ground, usually near where the host stays; on bedding, carpets, etc. These eggs, about 1/50 inch, are almost never seen.
Flea larvae are small, active, maggot-like creatures that are rarely seen by the homeowner. They will frequently stay within the fibers of carpeting. As the larvae, feeding on all kinds of minute sized organic matter, will develop a cocoon for pupation.
If the conditions are favorable to find a host, the adult will emerge from the cocoon. These conditions are vibrations and the presence of carbon dioxide. The flea may stay in the pupal stage for as long as a year. For this reason, many vacationers, after returning home, may become attacked by large amounts of fleas, all coming out of their cocoons at the same time.

Flea control is a step - by - step process. For more information on the actual treatment for fleas, check out Pestdude's FLEA TREATMENT page. If you have any questions, please ask Pestdude!